The physical and morphological characteristics of the red-fronted gazelle (Gazella rufifrons kanuri Gray 1846) in Waza National Park, Cameroon


*All correspondence to: A. C. Nchanji, Wildlife Conservation Society/Cameroon Biodiversity Program, P.O. Box 20 Nguti, Cameroon


The physical and morphological characteristics of red-fronted gazelles Gazella rufifrons kanuri Gray 1846 were determined in Waza National Park between September 1989 and December 1993 by describing body colour code and coloration, measuring body weight, body length, ear length, head length, horn length, hip height, shoulder height, tail length, and counting orbital glands from 141 carcasses. Mean body weight of red-fronted gazelles ranged from 7.8 kg for the young to 29.7 kg for the adult, while shoulder height varied from 38.7 cm in the young to 68.7 cm in the adult. Irrespective of age and sex, the shoulder height was lower than hip height by a fixed ratio of c. 1.04. Regardless of age and sex, orbital glands, though deeper in the adults, numbered nine with the highest concentration of four in the inter-digital fossae. The relationship between body weight and body length and horn length were significantly (P < 0.05, r= 0.8) positively correlated. The spatial appearance of horns, when viewed from the muzzle direction, is the most obvious physical and morphological characteristic for age and sex differenation of red-fronted gazelles in the field.